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Macho Man?

When I was a young beer-drinker, if you spilled someone’s pint in a pub, you bought them a fresh beer. It didn’t matter if the spilled pint glass was almost empty, the victim of your clumsiness got a full pint as compensation. But then I was brought up in a macho culture in the depths of Scotland's Central Belt - the part rarely seen in postcards and picture calendars. There were a lot of angry frustrated people around who were just looking for an excuse to punch someone else’s lights out. This meant that folks were actually more polite and respectful than in some other places I’ve lived. When I was in Newcastle upon Tyne, if someone spilled your pint – tough luck. Canada was even worse, drunks catapulted around the bars tipping over other people’s beers willy-nilly. At first, being used to the Scottish way of doing things, I took each spill in Canada as a personal insult and challenge. Actually, it wasn’t the spill, it was the lack of a compensatory pint that was the insult. Macho-Culture gets a bad press. But a least in central Scotland a fellah knew for sure if he was being treated with contempt. In many cases, machismo is the oil that lubricates a polite and respectful society.

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